A warning has been issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about possible fake or “phishing” emails sent out by fraudsters.
The period in the run-up to the tax credits renewal deadline often sees an increase in such attacks.
Customers have to renew their claims by 31 July – or their payments may stop.
The phishing emails often promise a rebate and, if taxpayers click on the link, they are taken to a replica of the HMRC website. The recipient is asked to provide credit or debit card details or other sensitive information such as passwords. Fraudsters then try to take money from the account.
Victims risk having money stolen from their bank accounts, or their personal details being sold on to criminal gangs for identity fraud.
During last year’s tax credits renewals period, from April to July, nearly 94,000 phishing emails were reported by customers. Even though HMRC helped shut down more than 360 scam websites during the period, others continue to be created.
Mark Rubinson partner at Arram Berlyn Gardner Chartered accountants states:
“HMRC only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. They don’t use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances. Anyone who receives an email claiming to be from HMRC should send it to firstname.lastname@example.org before deleting it permanently.”
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